By CAMERON ASHLEY
On Sept. 25, YouTuber Shane Dawson released his first installment of an eight-part docuseries entitled “The Mind of Jake Paul.” As of publication, he has released half of his series with view counts reaching as high as twenty million per video.
The series focuses on the “fall of Jake Paul and the darkness of his world,” as said by Dawson in his first video. However, after about the first two episodes, neither of which featuring Jake Paul, viewers were outraged at Dawson’s portrayal of sociopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, something that may have not been entirely the point of the series.
Dawson explained the backlash he received even before he contacted Jake Paul about doing a series, “The backlash I got was crazy. [It was] crazier than anything I’ve ever gotten. This was like ‘Shane if you do this, we will unsubscribe. We don’t want this. He is a bad person. He has done bad things. He’s a sociopath. He’s a liar.’ So obviously, I was a little scared.”
Dawson wants to get inside the head of Jake Paul, hence the title of the series, but comments viewers have made via social media influenced the direction of the series.
“I want to talk to a psychologist and see if he really is a sociopath because that word was all over my timeline,” Dawson said. Later, on Sept. 30, Dawson tweeted, “For me it’s more of a study of why he is the way he is. the sociopath element was added because it can explain a lot and open up the conversation.”
In other words, this series is not necessarily about sociopaths or whether Jake Paul is one or not, but more about Jake Paul himself. This is similar to Dawson’s other docuseries videos with Jeffree Star and Bunny Meyer aka “grav3yardgirl.” He focuses on one particular YouTuber that may be having problems or is controversial in the public eye and “fixes” them.
“I am a fixer. I’m way too nice and way too loyal,” Dawson explained. If he is trying to figure out why exactly Jake Paul “is the way he is,” sociopathy could very well be a reason for that. This is what Dawson is getting at with this series, just drawn out into eight parts.
However, Dawson did apologize for his portrayal of the disorder. “I’m sorry if I offended anybody. If you are offended for someone who has this or thinks they have this, I am sorry, but just know my intentions were not bad,” he said.
In his videos following the first part, Dawson puts multiple disclaimers in the video itself and the description that he is not diagnosing anyone. He also admitted that his editing may have been a bit too “horror.” He tweeted, “I definitely went overboard with the horror movie editing but that’s cause I got excited and love editing horror. But I’m going to be more sensitive with the editing going forward.”
Despite the controversy, this series is incredibly interesting and something the YouTube world just simply has not seen before.
Dawson has a large following of 18 million subscribers. He has grown from parody videos into filming and editing his own documentary series, which is extremely well put together. He has found his own niche where he thrives on being real and showing the true sides of people.
This series may have been doomed from the start and, as Dawson explains out in his first video, viewers seemed to hate the series before it even began. However, it is important to take the series at face value and appreciate Dawson’s attempt at something unique to the YouTube community.